It's no secret that Utica construction sites can be dangerous places to work. You've got industrial-grade power tools throughout the site. You've got massive, heavy vehicles moving in all directions. And you've likely also got chemicals and other compounds that need to be handled with the utmost care.
"Water. Rest. Shade. The work can't get done without them." Thus reads the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's banner atop their online resource for protecting outdoor workers from heat illness. Unfortunately, Utica employers all too often see it just the opposite way, pushing their employees to keep working in the heat until the work is done. Only then do they provide water, rest and shade.
The height of summer can be a dangerous time for Utica workers who work outside. There's an unfortunate tendency among employers to expect employees to "tough it out" when the temperatures soar. The reality, however, is that employers need to protect their employees from dangerous heat levels the same way they do other hazardous conditions.
Utica residents understand that working around heavy machinery can be dangerous. This is especially true when employers fail to take care of the equipment properly and train employees in its use. However, a work-related accident doesn't need to involve giant industrial or construction equipment to cause serious injury or even death.
We've spent some time this summer discussing the health and safety of outdoor workers in Utica. And while we've reviewed a lot of information from OSHA about who is at risk and what steps are necessary (especially on the employer's part) to prevent the onset of heat illness, we know that workers who suffer this condition may face backlash based on a lack of understanding.
Let's move from our discussion of heat illness into territory that is, perhaps unfortunately, likely to be more familiar to our Utica readers. Construction workers, as we've noted in the past weeks, are indeed susceptible to heat illness with the often heavy equipment and gear they wear outdoors in hot weather. But they are also susceptible to falls from roofs, scaffolds or ladders.